|Newsline No. 52-08||Printer friendly|
August 25, 2008
Division of Workers’ Compensation launches Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS)
New optical character recognition forms available on Web site
The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) officially launched the Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS), its new electronic case management and calendaring system, at its headquarters and 24 district offices on Monday, Aug. 25, 2008. DWC employees actually began using the application on Friday, Aug. 22. EAMS, a $36 million, multi-year technology project, is where all new cases filed with DWC will be stored and calendared electronically.
“After a year and a half of planning, building and testing, EAMS was launched successfully, and one day early,” said DWC Court Administrator Keven Star. “EAMS represents an enormous leap forward in transforming the district offices into a state-of-the-art court system that will more quickly resolve issues for injured workers and employers.”
As the state’s new workers’ compensation case management and calendar system, EAMS will automate a number of functions—such as file creation, case number assignment, case file transfer, storage and retrieval—that have historically caused delays in resolving disputed workers’ compensation claims. Case files will be available simultaneously at multiple locations throughout the state, which means multiple experts can concurrently review and work on case files. Files will not have to be physically transported from one office to another, saving fiscal and environmental resources. And the state’s information and assistance officers, who help injured workers, employers, labor unions, insurance carriers, physicians, attorneys and other interested parties understand their rights, benefits and obligations under California's workers' compensation laws, will have an enhanced ability to respond to questions about pending matters.
Currently, only DWC staff has access to the full electronic environment in EAMS, with external users being phased into the system over time. In the first two months following go-live, the division is asking external parties to use new optical character recognition (OCR) forms, which are scanned into EAMS at the district offices, voluntarily. To help facilitate this voluntary use of new forms prior to the date when regulations requiring their use become effective—likely in mid-October—the DWC has posted fillable/printable versions of the new forms on its Web site.
The DWC has also worked with external users, such as the California Applicants Attorney’s Association (CAAA) to create tools that will ease the transition to the new forms. An OCR forms handbook, along with samples of how to set up files using the new cover sheets and document separator sheets, are posted on the “getting ready” page of the EAMS Web site.
"It has been a pleasure working with the administration as part of the EAMS external user group,” said San Diego attorney and CAAA Past President Linda Atcherley. “CAAA is grateful for having been given the opportunity to participate in developing materials for the external users and being allowed to distribute these materials to its members and members of the workers' compensation community. CAAA is posting links to the DWC Web site, is distributing the OCR manual for all members who are filing with paper, and is educating its members to use these forms at the earliest possible date.”
The division has also begun conducting training sessions on EAMS for external users. The first sessions, conducted in Los Angeles and Oakland, were attended by over 400 trainers. The DWC will conduct additional “train the trainer” sessions in mid-September. Look for an announcement on how to sign up for these seminars later this week. Additionally, other external users, such as CAAA, are providing educational and training sessions for members.
“CAAA is also grateful to the division for allowing the use of training materials developed by the division for educating its members and the local community in CAAA's local chapter meetings and seminars,” said Atcherley. “Hopefully, coordinated efforts with the division will allow our members to access the local offices efficiently and effortlessly without placing an undue burden on the DWC employees."
The more external users voluntarily comply with use of new OCR forms, the easier it will be for the division to create and manage cases in EAMS.
“We have reached a major milestone in bringing the workers’ comp system into the 21st century,” said Star. “Our next milestone will be bringing external users into the full electronic environment where they can e-file, electronically review case documents and calendar matters via electronic forms.”
DWC anticipates bringing a select group of e-form filers into the system in September, with all external users (injured workers, attorneys, claims administrators and lien claimants) becoming eligible for access later in the year.
For more information on EAMS, go to www.dwc.ca.gov/eams.